Pure Balance Grain Free Dog Food

Pure Balance Grain-free dog food is an all-natural pet brand that is affordable and nutritious. They make their recipes with vitamins and minerals to support your pup’s well-being and overall health. What’s more, they have several different flavors and dishes available depending on your pet’s needs and palette.

To give you a better understanding of this grain-free option, we have reviewed Pure Balance down to the ingredients. We will answer all of your most important questions such as where the food is made, and whether it has had any recalls. Not only that, but we will also share our favorite dishes and some comments from other consumers. Keep reading to see if this option is right for your pooch!

Our Rating of Pure Balance Grain Free Dog Food

Pure Balance Grain Free is a dry dog food that uses a notable amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Which Pure Balance Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

Pure Balance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.

The Pure Balance product line includes the 2 dry dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Pure Balance Chicken and Brown Rice was selected to represent both products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient ContentProtein =

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, dried peas, brown rice, pea protein, dried beet pulp, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brewers rice, natural flavor, whole flaxseed, rice bran, oatmeal, sunflower oil, dried egg product, salt, yeast, dried carrots, dicalcium phosphate, menhaden fish oil, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, dried cranberry, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), lactic acid, copper proteinate, mixed manganese proteinate, biotin, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, l-carnitine, Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, rosemary extract, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Protein =

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 27% 15% NA
Dry Matter Basis 30% 17% 45%
Calorie Weighted Basis 26% 35% 39%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The next ingredient includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The next ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The seventh ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The next ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

After the natural flavor, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With 6 notable exceptions

First, we find rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

Next, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

In addition, we note the use of menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

We also find sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium in this product. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Based on its ingredients alone, Pure Balance Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas, pea protein, and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

A Quick Look at Pure Balance Grain-Free Dog FoodPros

  • All-natural formula
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Grain-free
  • Variety of recipes
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Cons

  • May be missing essential nutrients
  • There is no puppy or senior formula
  • This formula has many added vitamins, minerals, and supplements such as vitamins A, D, E, and B-complex. Not to mention, omega 3 and 6, biotin, iron, calcium, CFU’s, and much more. The natural formula has no artificial ingredients, wheat, corn, or soy. What’s more, the meals are all made with real meat (except the poultry-free option), and it has no by-product meals.

    We could go on about the important nutrients in Pure Balance’s Grain-Free formula, but we would be here all day. So, not to be a downer, but we are going to concentrate on the grain “substitutes” and other not so desirable ingredients.

  • Pea Protein: This is an ingredient commonly used to replace carbohydrates like wheat in dog food. The protein from peas is not the same as peas, however. In their raw form, a few peas in the formula can add nutritional benefits. In the protein form, there is little to no benefit for your pet.
  • Chicken Meal: We are sure you have heard of “meals” and by-product “meals”. Though by-products are never good for your dog, there is a lot of debate over whether “meals” are good or not. Here’s the gist, meals are only as good as what goes in them. If it’s made with less nutritious parts of the chicken or cow, you will have less than stellar “meal”. Unfortunately, this is a piece of info not available to the public.
  • Pea Starch: you face the same issue with starch as you do with protein when it comes to peas. Consider this, however. There is such a thing as ingredient splitting. If you see an ingredient in several forms, it may have been done intentionally to lower the weight of the ingredient. The FDA requires dog food ingredients to be listed according to weight. In some cases, if you add up the weight of all the “pea” products, they could weigh more than the first ingredient-like beef.
  • Dried Potatoes: this is another ingredient where there is some debate regarding its nutritional value. In general, though, rarely will a potato hurt your pooch. They can give a quick burst of energy, yet their diet does not require them.
  • Carrageenan: This ingredient is used as a filler in most dog foods. It adds weight to the product. In this case, the ingredient is found in their semi-raw rolls. Not only does it have no benefits for your dog, but it also can be hard to digest, cause gas, and diarrhea.
  • One thing we want to note is that the formula for the grain-free wet food is not readily available on any web site including Walmart’s. Though the FDA requires all pet foods to have a listing of their ingredients, it is concerning that you cannot find this information anywhere online.

    The Pure Balance Grain-Free dog food has not had any recalls at the time this article was published. That being said, when a product is outsourced to another manufacturing company, you want to look at their recall history, as they will be the parties responsible for “making” the food.

    The manufactures, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition LLC, have been involved in recalls regarding their Rachel Ray line. What’s more, J.M. Smucker has also been involved in two voluntary recalls in the last three years. One of those recalls involved euthanasia ingredients found in their canned dog food.